Two giraffes, standing tall on flatbed truck; low-slung overpass; high speed: What could go wrong?
Pretty much everything, as it turns out. Drivers in South Africa found out exactly what that entails when one of two giraffes that were being transported, blindfolded, slammed its head into a cement overpass as the truck zoomed under it. The animal later died, the Washington Post reported.
"Blood was coming from its nose and mouth," witness Thinus Botha told the Los Angeles Times.
Botha had just snapped a photo of the doomed animal and its fellow traveler when he heard a loud bang, he recounted. He and others who saw the accident described the horror that they felt. One woman told the Washington Post that the bang had sounded like a gunshot.
“That is how loud the impact was from the animal’s head smashing into the overhead bridge,” Pabi Moloi told the Washington Post. “The sound of a skull being hit and the force with which it threw the giraffe's head forward is something I won’t easily forget.”
Giraffes have been in the news over the past few months, most notably in Europe, where one zoo euthanized a young one, and another zoo pondered doing so. Both decisions drew the world’s ire.
They are the tallest animals in the world, according to National Geographic, with six-foot legs and necks to match.
Criminal charges could be filed in the highway death, according to media in South Africa.
"At this stage we are still investigating and considering charges in terms of the Animal Protection Act," said Rick Allan, a managing director of the local branch of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, according to news site iAfrica.com.?? ??"We believe the method in which the animal was transported was not correct. The death of the animal could have been avoided."